Tips for Delivering Great Customer Service to Every Generation
Now more than ever, consumers expect brands to go above and beyond in an effort to enhance their experiences. Customer service can no longer just be good, it needs to be impressive. For companies whose target market crosses into all ages, creating “wow” experiences requires attending to the array of preferences that such a large customer market has. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, great customer service is expected in varying ways.
To get started, let’s break down who exactly makes up these generational titles.
Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964
Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976
Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 – 1995
Generation Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 – present
What makes these individuals so different, aside from their ages, is three key trends believed to shape each generation. These are: parenting, technology, and economics. How each generation was brought up within these various timelines impacts how they expect customer service to be conducted today.
Traditionalists & Baby Boomers
Though there is a bit of a time gap between these two generations, for the most part, their preferences are fairly similar. When it comes to shopping and customer service, they rely heavily on brick-and-mortar stores. 57% of Boomers prefer to visit a store to resolve a service issue. They expect a human service rep to assist them, as opposed to a chatbot or customer service phone line.
Communication & accessibility
In-person, polite customer service is a must for this generation. A “wow” experience for them can be as simple as a well-organised store, engaging and helpful staff to assist with questions and recommendations, and a checkout process that is as smooth as possible.
There’s a fine line that brands need to be aware of when it comes to these generations’ knowledge of technology, regarding what is considered helpful and what is confusing. While some are fully adept, others would rather not engage with any new technology at all. Your best bet is to keep a human-touch to your brand and offer a live representative interactions both in-store and over the phone. Be sure to present staff as a resource, should they need assistance, rather than assuming they do.
The smallest generation, Gen X is often referred to as the middle child between Millennials and Baby Boomers. This generation includes busy working parents, with an understanding of technology and a favourable grasp of social media. Generally, this crowd favours simplicity and efficiency.
Communication & accessibility
This generation loves social media, so it’s in marketers’ best interest to engage these consumers through platforms like Facebook. Targeted ads and email promotions are ideal for communicating your brand offerings. On the flip side, a large portion of this generation still appreciates traditional snail mail, so personalised coupons via mail will appeal to this audience. In fact, 68% of this generation report to using coupons they received in the mail.
This generation is more comfortable with technology than their predecessors. With 85% of Gen X’ers owning a smartphone and 64% owning a tablet, they are interested in online shopping and mobile updates. Generation X usually lead quite busy lives, so they tend to be quite prone to having strong customer loyalty to brands that reward them for it. Incorporating social media actions into your loyalty program is therefore recommended for cross-channel communication and constant engagement.
Millennials & Centennials
Differing from the generations before them, millennials are hyper-focused on a brand’s backstory or mission. For example, 55% of millennials are more likely to buy when a charitable donation is offered with purchase. While they want experiences personalised to meet their precise needs and preferences, they also want them on-demand.
Communication & accessibility
Younger consumers are accustomed to using multiple devices at once. While they may be perusing your website on their tablet, they could also be tweeting about you on their smartphone and making a purchase on their laptop. Across all of these interactions, one thing is certain, they expect consistent, high-quality service at top speed. Providing omnichannel experiences that make it easy for them to access the information they want, whenever and wherever they want, is critical. You’ll need to offer a support system that enables them to solve problems without human interaction, as they’re not only used to online interactions, but they also expect immediate customer support. As opposed to older generations who want a human support team, 70% of millennials prefer self-service operations.
Millennials and Centennials grew up right along with the technology that surrounds them and therefore expect it to be used to their advantage in all brand interactions. One technology you should be offering to improve the customer experience for this generation is a mobile app. These generations are constantly on their phones, so you have to assume they’re using it to find out more about your brand and where they can find similar or better deals. Companies like Starbucks and Ulta Beauty are great examples of brands that are tapping into the online behaviours of Millenials and Centennials. Offering consumers individual promotions and notifications based on their purchase history and location are easily set up through an app and can have a positive impact on your customer experience.
While this information is helpful in assessing the best way to serve your customer market, it’s important to remember each generation is made up of unique personalities and not everyone will follow these specific trends. Hopefully this, in combination with your existing strategy, will help you provide exceptional customer experiences from here on out!
This Blog post was written in collaboration with Maddie Davis, co-founder of Enlightened Digital and web designer from the Big Apple.